This Region is a melting pot of different peoples; it is rich in traditions dating back thousands of years and is full of recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next, even in literature, which is an integral part of the culture of the island.
Coming from the mainland, the so-called “Continent”, we cross Narrow of Messina on “Caronte”, the infamous ferryboat that has always sailed from one coast to other tourists, foreigners, people who return after a long absence, trucks loaded with the indispensable necessity for that Region which is by far the Island of excellence.
All are encouraged by the wind and dazzled by a light that only the Sicilian Coast can concede at any time. We already see the shore, jagged and rocky, and we are attacked by infinite stories that give us the sounds, scents and flavors of all the civilizations that crossed and intertwined in that Sicilian land that sometimes appears to us almost ” Navel of the World “, but surely it has always been the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the crossroads of any “wind and assault”.
Starting from the East, we come first to the south coast of the island, where the bold and superb beauty of the Baroque style blends together with the more geometric Greek columns, Christian walls and prehistoric villages.
We then cross between the island of Ortigia (Syracuse), with the majestic Cathedral of the Nativity of Most Holy – Cathedral of Syracuse – the dazzling City of Noto, a baroque jewel recognized as UNESCO patrimony. Just like Modica, which boasts a remarkable repertoire of gastronomic specialties, and it is the mother of the exquisite and particular, chocolate that takes its name, The Chocolate of Modica, with noble taste and Aztec origin. The recipe dates back when Sicily was still under the Kingdom of Spain.
The area is so rich that it is difficult to limit itself to this: parks, volcanoes, seaside and architectural masterpieces follow in a whirlwind of wonders.
An Island from the Bowels of Fire, inhabited by the highest volcano in Europe, the “Etna”.
Volcano that, with its hot (and bouncing) souls, “populate” a large area with several lava boulders of various sizes embellished, with singular harmony, from a particular and secular vegetation full of history of eruptions, shakes and explosions. But this does not make the area an arid area of food and wine production: Etna DOC is considered among the finest Sicilian wines in its three variants, white cooler and more delicate white wine; dryer rose wine and hottest and robust red wine.
There are so many specialties that have deep roots in very small “pockets” of the region; these specialties are so closely tied to local ingredients and specific cooking methods, that once you leave that particular area, you can no longer find them anywhere else on the island. This is why Sicilian cuisine still has the ability to communicate and hand over the history of his people.
Returning to the center of the island, we find a vast expanse of countryside on the horizon that seems almost unexplored yet there is no lack of influence and domination. Here the earth gives a varied rainbow of fruit and vegetable products: from the zucchini, called “Cucuzza”, to artichokes and capers, passing through the most famous tomato and aubergine. Without forgetting the importance of legumes, just think about beans. There are many dishes made from a mixture of vegetables: you think of the “Macco di Fave”, typical of Agrigento is made with beans and beets, but especially to the most notorious “Caponata”, the most representative dish of whole Sicily without distinction of the province, is found everywhere, fortunately because it certainly deserves its knowledge. It can accompany the main dishes or be served as a starter with bread. The recipe is entrusted and perpetuated by grandmother to grandchild as a tradition.
A compulsory stage is Catane, in Bronte not to miss the opportunity to visit the cultivations of the Pistacchio of Bronte and where the processing of a particular variety has obtained the mark D.O.P .
Pistachio, noble and elegant raw material, is first and foremost tasty to eat roasted and salted in its natural representation, but in Sicilian cuisine it craves the palates in any of its alternative reusing, among the most sought after, the Pistachio Crunchy of which a bite pulls the other; or it is used to supplement many recipes: compotes, sauces or pistachio pesto.
In the Trapani area, for example, in western Sicily, it is easy to taste a Busiate dish with Pistachio Pesto, enriched with swordfish or Mazzarese shrimp.
The Busiates are a kind of fresh or dry pasta with a narrow, long spiral shape obtained from pasta manufacturing around a melt, called “Buso”. The Busiate, lends itself to a thousand condiments, but also with a Capers and Anchovies pesto.
Already arrived for culinary reasons at the extreme west, we can not go to enjoy the views of the Salinas of Trapani and Marsala, a wide range of coastline, rich in windmills and with a great landscape impact. Many species of migratory birds are often sheltered: it is not impossible to encounter a close encounter with a pink flamingo. To welcome us a light that at any time dazzles us with the view of the neighboring island of “Mozia”, which is definitely worth visiting, along with the fascinating Egadi Islands. But that of sunset is the most striking light because it allows us to greet that “Sol Levante”, who came to us, descends and loses in the infinite blue sea coloring the landscape of red, yellow and orange and transforming the sea into a spectral white pearl.
Traditions that become myths told in family recipe books that are handed down as a fundamental part of family dowry.
Among the most important pleasures in Sicilian culture, beyond the family, friendship and the sea, there is the kitchen as an indispensable tradition, a fundamental part of the culture of this Earth.
The flavors of Sicily, a warm land with a thousand faces and fragrances, project us, through a journey through time, in the culture of a past that has interpreted the various culinary arts of the various peoples who dominated it and who have also left the impression in the gastronomy of the Island, making it, in its mix of flavors and scents, consistent with its own territory: Sweet but salty and sweet; Poor, but with strong and varied tastes; Simple but revolutionary and, often, very mysterious.
Discover the flavors of Sicily and let them bend down by its various faces and traditions.
Close your eyes and prepare to take a voyage into the flavors of Sicily.